As we continue to dive deeper into fall, the buzz from Tarleton’s Memorial Stadium will quietly start shifting to Wisdom Gym as the basketball programs prepare to tip things off.
The goal this season for the TexAnns is simple - win the Lone Star Conference and make some noise in the national scene. With a strong senior class, nothing appears beyond reach.
“It’s my senior year and it’s bittersweet. This is the only thing I’ve done my entire life and without it and I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said senior Bailey Wipff who led the team last year averaging 13.1 points per game. “The goal is a conference championship. We haven’t seen one in awhile so that’s what we’re hoping to capture this season.”
To do so, the TexAnns will have to build upon their 17-11 overall schedule last season and their 10-6 conference record. The formula to find wins isn’t exactly science, but there is always tinkering to do and head coach Misty Wilson is excited to see what’s in store.
“Just being able to play a little different style because of our personnel is something that’s exciting,” she said. “I think we can create some real mismatches. Each year is a new team and we always start things off with excitement. This year is no different and I’m ready to see what our team can do.”
Joining Wipff as senior leaders are front court member Ikpeaku Iwobi and Travanti Downes. Both have played significant minutes in the past and will be relied upon heavily this season.
However, Iwobi, who led the team averaging 7.6 rebounds a game and was second with 10.2 points per game, knows that if the team is to be successful in her final season they’ll need more than just veteran players.
“I want to stick by my standards and be a leader and show the younger girls how to do things right,” she said. “They’ll play a key role this season and how we are down the line. I plan on setting an example for them on and off the court in practice and in games. It’s important for them to have veteran players to look up to.”
With her team’s mindset in the right places, Coach Wilson knows it’s the seniors that make the TexAnns special this season as well.
“I’m really excited about the senior class. They’ve really gotten out of their comfort zone, especially Bailey (Wipff) who has been a real vocal leader,” she said. “Ikpeaku and Travanti have been good at setting the tone in the paint as well. Watching how much those girls have grown and how much they’ve given to the program is exciting.”
The TexAnns will tip off their season on Nov. 11 when they host Missouri S&T at 5 p.m. in Wisdom Gym.